Arizona Summit Law School

Last updated
Arizona Summit Law School
Logo 2014-04-13 02-14.jpg
Parent school InfiLaw System
Established2005
School type For profit
Dean Penny Willrich
Location Phoenix, Arizona, USA
33°26′55″N112°04′24″W / 33.448563°N 112.073199°W / 33.448563; -112.073199 Coordinates: 33°26′55″N112°04′24″W / 33.448563°N 112.073199°W / 33.448563; -112.073199
Enrollment450
Faculty18 full time 40 adjunct
USNWR rankingRNP [1]
Bar pass rate20.1% [2]
Website www.azsummitlaw.edu

The Arizona Summit Law School, founded in 2005 and known until 2013 as the Phoenix School of Law, was a for-profit law school located in Phoenix, Arizona. SummitLaw is part of the InfiLaw System of independent, for-profit law schools, which includes Florida Coastal School of Law and Charlotte School of Law, owned by Sterling Partners. [3] [4] Although the school was approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) in 2010, [5] the ABA withdrew the school's accreditation effective July 9, 2018, [6] and the school began closing in the fall of that same year. [7]

Contents

Employment

According to Arizona Summit's official 2018 ABA-required disclosures, 34.4% of the Class of 2017 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners. [8]

ABA Employment Summary for 2015 Graduates [9]
Employment StatusPercentage
Employed - Bar Passage Required
35.7%
Employed - J.D. Advantage
19.2%
Employed - Professional Position
18.5%
Employed - Non-Professional Position
2.6%
Pursuing Graduate Degree Full Time
4.0%
Unemployed - Not Seeking
4.6%
Unemployed - Seeking
15.2%
Total of 151 Graduates

In July 2017, the school had the lowest bar passage rate in Arizona, with 25.7% of first time test takers passing compared to 76.1% for Arizona State University and 74.3% for University of Arizona. The state's total passage rate was 69.4% for first time test takers and 56.6% overall. [2]

Costs

The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Arizona Summit for the 2014-2015 academic year is $64,856. [10] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $243,864. [11] The median amount of debt for program graduates is $178,263 [12] The school offers controversial conditional scholarships to students that can be reduced or eliminated based on overall grade point average, rather than academic standing. During the 2015-2016 academic year, 73 students had their conditional scholarship reduced or eliminated. [13]

Campus

The school had been located in the Phelps Dodge Tower, a 20-story building in downtown Phoenix, until August 2018, when it was evicted for failure to pay rent. [14]

Academics

Critics contend that Arizona Summit's admissions process was close to a fully open unselective enrollment system. [15] Arizona Summit's Fall 2016 entering class had a median GPA of 2.96 and a median LSAT score of 143 (20th percentile of test takers). [16] The 25th percentile of admitted students had a GPA of 2.55 and an LSAT score of 140 (13th percentile of test takers). The school admitted 64.1% of applicants. Last year, the school lost 99 first year students (33% of the class). Forty-one students failed out of the program, 35 transferred, and 23 left for other reasons.

The school says its mission is based upon three pillars: (1) a student-centered educational experience; (2) supporting programs that allow for professionally prepared graduates; and (3) commitment to underserved communities.

Nevertheless, legal scholars dispute the for-profit school's mission. Many legal academics contend that Arizona Summit admits students who have little chance of passing the bar or obtaining employment after graduation, in order to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in student loans. [15]

U.S. News and World Report did not report the rank of Arizona Summit in 2016. [18] US News only ranks the top three-fourths of law schools. [19]

In May 2017, the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education, the state's licensing authority governing for-profit educational institutions, voted to require the law school to post a $1.5 million surety bond, to be potentially paid out to students in the event the school closes down. [20]

Student organizations

Reputation

Previously, the Chairman of the Board was Dennis Archer, a former Mayor of Detroit, Michigan Supreme Court justice and the first African-American president of the American Bar Association. [28]

A 2012 report showed that 18% of first-year students at Arizona Summit had transferred to other law schools. This led to a policy in which transfer students were required to meet with an adviser before their transcripts would be released.

Recording of oral arguments during appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

In 2013, two professors filed a lawsuit against the school, alleging that they had been fired for objecting to a new policy related to student transfers, among other policy changes. [29] The complaint was subsequently dismissed by District Court. [30] The plaintiffs appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The school created controversy in 2015, when the dean reportedly paid underprepared students not to take the bar exam. [31] [32]

Accreditation withdrawal and shutdown

On March 27, 2017, Arizona Summit was notified by the ABA that the school had been placed on probation. [33] Arizona Summit became the second InfiLaw school to be placed on probation by the ABA. Charlotte School of Law was placed on probation in November 2016.

In January 2018, the ABA issued a letter stating that the school's financial strength was insufficient to carry out legal education that met the ABA's standards and gave the school until February 1, 2018, to submit a report on its efforts to improve its financial position. [34]

The ABA withdrew approval in June 2018. The ABA approved the school's "teach-out plan" in November of 2018 as the school ceases operations. [35]

Related Research Articles

Law school in the United States

In the United States, a law school is an institution where students obtain a professional education in law after first obtaining an undergraduate degree.

Law School Admission Test

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a half-day standardized test administered seven times each year at designated testing centers throughout the world. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) administers the LSAT for prospective law school candidates. It is designed to assess reading comprehension as well as logical and verbal reasoning proficiency. The test is an integral part of the law school admission process in the United States, Canada, the University of Melbourne, Australia, and a growing number of other countries.

Lincoln Memorial University Private university

Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is a private liberal arts university in Harrogate, Tennessee. LMU's 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) campus borders on Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. LMU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). In March 2019, the LMU Duncan School of Law received full accreditation by the American Bar Association.

<i>Florida International University College of Law</i> Academic journal

The Florida International University College of Law is the law school of Florida International University, located in Miami, Florida in the United States. The law school is accredited by the American Bar Association, and is the only public law school in South Florida.

Quinnipiac University School of Law

Quinnipiac University School of Law is the law school of Quinnipiac University. It is the newest law school in the U.S. state of Connecticut, having received full accreditation from the American Bar Association in 1992. It is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. It is currently ranked 125th by U.S. News & World Report for 2019.

Whittier Law School

Whittier Law School was a law school in Costa Mesa, California founded in 1966. The law school was part of Whittier College, a private institution. After several years of being ranked among the poorest performing law schools in the country based on bar passage rate and job placement, on April 15, 2017, Whittier Law School announced it would no longer be admitting students and would discontinue its legal program. The closure of Whittier Law School will make it the first law school with full accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA) to shut down in at least 30 years.

Mississippi College School of Law is an American Bar Association accredited law school. MC Law is one of only two law schools is the state of Mississippi, and is the only law school in the capital city of Jackson, Mississippi. The school is a professional school of Mississippi College, founded in 1826. It is also colloquially referred to as MC Law, or MC Law School.

Atlantas John Marshall Law School private for-profit law school in Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Atlanta's John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is a private for-profit law school in Atlanta, Georgia. It was founded in 1933 and named for John Marshall, the fourth chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Florida Coastal School of Law For-profit law school in Jacksonville, Florida

Florida Coastal School of Law is a for-profit law school in Jacksonville, Florida. Established in 1996, the school was founded upon three mission pillars: serving the underserved, providing an education that is student-outcome centered, and graduating students who are practice ready. The school is part of the InfiLaw System of law schools owned by Sterling Partners. Florida Coastal has filed an application with the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Accreditation to convert to non-profit status.

Charleston School of Law

The Charleston School of Law (CSOL) is a for-profit law school in Charleston, South Carolina. The school was established in 2003 and fully accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) in August 2011. The school was founded upon a principle of promoting public service by its students and graduates; each student must perform at least 50 hours of public service before graduation. According to the school's 2018 ABA-required disclosures, 44.5% of the Class of 2017 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.

Monterey College of Law (MCL) is a private, non-profit law school founded in 1972 in Monterey, California. It provides part-time evening J.D. and Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) degrees. The school is accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. The school is not an American Bar Association accredited law school. J.D. graduates of the Monterey College of Law are eligible to sit for the California Bar Exam, and upon passing, be licensed to practice law in California, but are not generally eligible to take the bar exam or practice outside of California.

The Valparaiso University Law School was located on the campus of Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana, a community located about an hour's drive from Chicago. Founded in 1879, the school was accredited by the American Bar Association in 1929 and admitted to the Association of American Law Schools in 1930. In October 2016, the ABA censured the school for admitting applicants who did not appear capable of satisfactorily completing the school's program of legal education and being admitted to the bar. One year later, the school suspended admissions and shut down after the last class graduated in 2020.

Massachusetts School of Law

The Massachusetts School of Law is a law school located in Andover, Massachusetts. The school was founded in 1988 and claims that its design and curriculum were influenced by the medical school educational model and legal scholars. The school is not accredited by the American Bar Association.

Shepard Broad College of Law is the law school of Nova Southeastern University, located on the university's main campus in Davie, Florida. The school offers full-time day and part-time evening programs.

Widener University Delaware Law School, located in Wilmington, Delaware, is one of two separate ABA-accredited law schools of Widener University. It was founded in 1971 as the Delaware Law School and became affiliated with Widener in 1975. In 1989, it was known as Widener University School of Law when it was combined with the campus in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In 2015, the two campuses separated, with the Harrisburg one renamed to Widener University Commonwealth Law School.

Liberty University School of Law

The Liberty University School of Law is the law school of Liberty University, a private Evangelical Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia. The school offers the J.D., L.L.M., and J.M. degrees.

Charlotte School of Law was an independent for-profit college in Charlotte, North Carolina established in 2006. It was provisionally accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) in 2008, and fully accredited in 2011. However, the ABA placed the school on probation in 2016, resulting in the school's closure the following year. While Charlotte Law served the community through expungement programs and restitution self-help clinics, it was also criticized for alleged mismanagement and compliance issues, which were later found to be true. Charlotte Law was owned by the InfiLaw System.

The University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law is a law school institution provisionally accredited by the American Bar Association. It is located at 106 S. Harwood St. in the UNT Dallas Law Center. The parent institution is University of North Texas at Dallas (UNTD) and is the only public law school in Dallas. The first class entered in the fall of 2014. The school was originally housed in the historic Titche-Goettinger Building in downtown Dallas.

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School (WMU-Cooley) is a private law school in Lansing, Michigan. It was established in 1972 and has campuses in Lansing, Michigan; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Auburn Hills, Michigan; and Tampa Bay, Florida. Two years of courses may be taken at Western Michigan University's Kalamazoo location.

The InfiLaw System is a for-profit consortium of three independent law schools in the United States, consisting of Arizona Summit Law School in Phoenix, Arizona, Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Florida, and the Charlotte School of Law. It is owned by Sterling Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, and is headquartered in Naples, Florida.

References

  1. "Best Law Schools – U.S. News and World Report" . Retrieved Feb 13, 2019.
  2. 1 2 "JULY 2017 EXAMINATION RESULTS" (PDF). AZ Supreme Court.
  3. Infilaw Corp. (2012). "Home". Infilaw Corp. Archived from the original on May 26, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  4. Sterling Partners (2011). "Portfolio:InfiLaw". Sterlings Partners. Archived from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  5. "Phoenix School of Law: News & Events". Phoenixlaw.edu. 2010-06-15. Archived from the original on 2013-10-18. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  6. "Arizona Summit loses accreditation approval, which may be a first for an operating law school".
  7. "No fall classes at Arizona Summit, school says, and a teach-out plan is being negotiated".
  8. "ABA Employment Summary for 2017 Graduates".
  9. "Employment Summary for 2015 Graduates" (PDF).
  10. "Cost of Attendance". www.azsummitlaw.edu. Retrieved Feb 13, 2019.
  11. "Arizona Summit Law School, Finances". www.lstreports.com. Retrieved Feb 13, 2019.
  12. "Arizona Summit Financing". Archived from the original on August 21, 2016. Retrieved Feb 13, 2019.
  13. "ABA Disclosures" (PDF).
  14. Ryman, Anne. "Arizona Summit Law School locked out of its Phoenix offices for not paying rent". azcentral. Retrieved Feb 13, 2019.
  15. 1 2 "Law School Scam Getting Worse".
  16. "Arizona Summit ABA Required Disclosures" (PDF).
  17. "Phoenix School of Law" (PDF). Phoenixlaw.edu. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-18. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  18. http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/arizona-summit-law-school-03197
  19. "Methodology: 2018 Best Law Schools Rankings". US News & World Report.
  20. Ryman, Anne (May 25, 2017). "Arizona Summit Law School told to create financial safety net for students as precaution". Arizona Republic. AZ Central. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  21. "LST Score Reports | Arizona Summit Law School, Key Stats". www.lstscorereports.com. Retrieved 2015-10-28.
  22. "Despite All Efforts, Law School Posts Worst Bar Exam Performance Ever". Above the Law. Retrieved 2015-10-28.
  23. Journal, ABA. "This law school had a 30% bar pass rate; do lower standards presage troubled times for law grads?". ABA Journal. Retrieved 2015-10-28.
  24. https://www.azcourts.gov/Portals/26/admis/2016/FEB2016ExamResults_WebVersion.pdf
  25. "Arizona Bar Exam Statistics" (PDF).
  26. https://www.azcourts.gov/Portals/26/admis/Stats/StatsJuly2017AZUBE.pdf
  27. "Meet an Arizona Summit Law School graduate who failed the bar exam 6 times and still keeps trying".
  28. "Board Members". Phoenix School of Law. 2007. Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
  29. Cassens Weiss, Debra (4 June 2013). "Suit claims law profs were fired after opposing proposals to discourage student transfers". ABA Journal . Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  30. "azcommonlaw.com". azcommonlaw.com.
  31. "Lawsuit: Infilaw Paying Law Grads To Put Off Bar Exam".
  32. "Arizona Summit Defends Encouraging Grads to Delay Bar Exam".
  33. "ABA Puts Arizona Summit on Probation".
  34. "Arizona Summit Law School, already on probation, now out of compliance for finances".
  35. Arizona Summit Law School (2018). "ABA Accreditation" . Retrieved December 11, 2018.